Ulster Bank posts profit of £51m in first quarter
ULSTER Bank has posted a profit of £51m (€69m) in the first quarter, compared with €10m in the same period last year.
Total income of £190m (€255m), up from £201m last year.
"This quarter sees sustained progress across the key areas, demonstrating the underlying strength of the core Ulster Bank franchise," said Jim Brown, who is moving on as Ulster Bank chief executive to another role at parent RBS.
"Both loan and deposit balances were impacted by a weakened euro but were stable on a constant currency basis. There was no net impairment charge this quarter," he add.
He added that the bank recorded a 55pc increase in mortgage drawdowns compared to the first quarter of last year.
He added that Ulster Bank has reduced its variable and fixed mortgage rates for new and existing customers, introduced a €1,500 contribution toward legal fees for new mortgage customers, launched a dedicated team of mobile mortgage managers and a return to the mortgage broker market.
Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank parent, said it expects to settle with U.S. authorities investigating alleged foreign exchange manipulation in the coming weeks and set aside a further £334m cover the cost.
The new charge takes the total set aside by RBS for future foreign exchange settlements to 704 million pounds. The bank was fined $634 million by British and U.S. regulators last November, being one of six institutions which paid out a combined $4.3 billion for failing to stop traders trying to manipulate currency markets.
RBS said on Thursday it was in advanced discussions over a settlement in relation to a criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and other authorities, and expects to settle before the end of June.
Rival Barclays, which has yet to settle with any regulators over the matter, on Wednesday set aside another 800 million pounds to cover the issue.
RBS, 80 percent owned by the British government, remains hampered by a number of investigations into past misconduct, undermining its turnaround under CEO Ross McEwan who warned of another tough year as the bank grapples with a mammoth restructuring and the consequences of past misdeeds.
"There are still many conduct and litigation hurdles looming on the horizon and putting these issues behind us is a vital part of our plan," McEwan said.